I made the lower posts for the lane guides last night. There are four mounting holes on each side, so I needed eight parts, and because this part supports an acrylic lane guide in the center, I decided to make upper and lower post parts. I was able to make all nine (one spare/demo piece) in about two hours because they’re a lot simpler than the slingshot posts I made on Saturday. I should be able to make the upper lane guide parts tonight as they are even smaller than the lower posts. I’ve designed them all to have the same look and feel because hey, I can do that.
Lower lane guide posts
Laid out on the table
My orders have arrived for my inline fuses, 12-pin molex connectors, and the 2.1mm power adapter for the bluetooth connection. I took a few minutes to list out all the tasks I’d like to complete before the Tacoma expo, and then prioritized all items. There are 25 tasks, but if things go well I will cross two of them off tonight. I have seven more evenings and three full days (thanks Memorial Day!) to finish everything up before the show…
Yesterday I spent the day designing and machining slingshot posts. I eventually made seven, one prototype and six final versions. The prototype has slightly different angles so I’ll probably keep it as a spare and for something to show people. I finished the prototype around 2:15, and had the six final pieces done by 4:30, so it took roughly 30 minutes to produce each post. Not exactly economical as I could have bought plastic ones on the cheap, but hey, they wouldn’t look near as cool.
Using the lathe
I made this mess
I only made a few small steps of headway last night, spinning my wheels fixing an issue with the playfield length (my cabinet is old, and too short). I had to chop off the border pieces I installed so the playfield would fit inside the cabinet (bummer!). I already knew I would have to build a new cabinet at some point, and this just seals the deal. Anyway, I wanted to get up and working though, so I just chopped the end off. I finished wiring the power supplies and added the 24v to the Fast Power Filter board’s V1 and the additional 5v to V2, both guarded by 5a slo-blo fuses now. I couldn’t decide on how exactly to wire up the mains, but I’d like to keep things modular with a C14 power socket as the input for the power tray. I’ll add inline fuses for each of the power supplies so if anything ever goes wrong they won’t all burn out), I just ordered the fuse holders on Amazon. It’d be nice to have a switch somewhere to turn it all on and off, too. Besides that, I also soldered wires to a 1/4″ audio bypass jack I plan on mounting to the front panel. Since that adds 6 wires to the front, I also purchased some 12-pin molex connectors and associated necessary bits from McMaster-Carr. I also have some long M4 bolts coming in from BoltDepot that should be long enough to install posts of the playfield, which I hope to start making on Saturday.
Audio amp board in lower left
Headphone bypass jack
Put back together…
Tonight I put the rails on the playfield, and test-fit the top part that redirects the pinball around in a circle. I also installed the legs on the cabinet (with felt protector pads).
Top of playfield
This was weird to install
Standing on her own!
Looking more like pinball
Once all that was done, I started wiring the power supplies. It went pretty well, and I paid special attention to keep it close and clean. I’m very happy with it so far. I still have to add connectors to the 24v audio supply, as well as the extra 12v/5v supply. I ran pairs of wire for the neutral and hot, a standalone wire for ground, and then color-coded wires for the other voltages. I reused the brass ground bus block I made a long time ago, though I still have to join the mains power and ground to my system. I want to have a cutoff switch somewhere…
Neutral and Hots done
Brass ground bus block
Wow yesterday was amazing. I knew I was close to having a lot of things come together, and my goals for this past week were pretty optimistic, but I think I did a great job accomplishing them!
It all started out by putting the metal and glass back on the cabinet. There was a lot of work involved in doing it, and it took most of my day. I am glad I spent the time fixing up the cabinet now though, as it looks so much better than it did a couple of weeks ago. One of the metal props that holds up the glass when you work on the playfield was missing its hinge pin, so I measured it (0.190″ by 0.750″) and made a new one out of a metal rod taken from a broken laserjet printer. I also took the old (cloth-wrapped!) wiring out from behind the coin door and checked the start button’s contacts (they still work!). I soldered some new wire to the start switch and put a connector on the other side. I installed a lock on the coin door too. I glued and clamped the wooden bar that I had to pry off two weeks ago, and only have to put the nuts back on its bolts to be finished.
Using the lathe
New part from an old part
A perfect fit!
Yup, it works
Then I installed the plunger and realized that the cabinet’s front panel support was in the way of the mounting plate. So I chiseled out enough of the support piece for it to fit.
After all that was done, I started installing parts on my playfield! The ball trough went on first, followed by the auto-kicker (they were a tight fit together). I then added the slingshot mechanisms and in- and out-lane switches, followed finally by the flippers. Installation of all these parts went pretty quick. Once I had everything together I put it all in the cabinet and was it ever a satisfying sight!
Rotisserie needs further development
Getting everything together
Not just good, good enough!
Kinda looks like a face
How sweet it is!
So my next goals are to wire up the power board, mount the Fast controller boards, wire up all the parts and get things flipping! I also need to make the posts that define the slingshots, lane guides, etc. And I need to attach the side rails but that’ll be quick. Plus, yeah, the audio system. That’s on deck, but I think I’ll get everything working first. I still have just under four weeks to the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Expo, which should give me enough time to do some of the polishing I would like to have beyond the “basic lower third” that has been my goal to take and show off.
So I was a little panicked yesterday not having accomplished any of my goals. Last night during G2X we were stress-testing our underwater vehicle’s thrusters, running them in a loop at different power settings, so instead of just waiting around I cut out, laser-etched, and assembled my power tray. I even left 1/4″ lip on the bottom for the bolt heads. Check it!
Cut out, then lasered
Sides glued and screwed
So reviewing this week’s goals I’ve still not accomplished any of them. Still on the list to do are reinstalling the metal and glass in the cabinet, attaching the mechanical parts to the playfield, and making the power tray. Secondary goal of speaker boxes isn’t looking good right now. Tonight is my G2X meeting, except some people are out-of-town so I may be able to duck out and work on my machine. I still have Saturday though. It would be super cool if I could have everything connected and actually flipping but I think it’s a little too early. Even if I had the devices on the playfield, I still have wiring to do. But I think this is accomplishable next week.